A deal with Iran over its nuclear program has been all but finalized for weeks and the ongoing diplomatic exchange between the major players is part of an elaborate “choreography,” according to some inside accounts.
According to Ignatius, the impending deal is that “Iran would agree to stop enriching uranium to the 20 percent level and to halt work at an underground facility near Qom built for higher enrichment. Iran would export its stockpile of highly enriched uranium for final processing to 20 percent, for use in medical isotopes.”
“Iran is following the script,” writes Ignatius, and will “describe their actions not as concessions to the West but as ‘confidence-building’ measures,” while ” the West would describe its easing of sanctions not as a climb down but as ‘reciprocity.'” He calls the public “language of these talks” an “exercise.”
On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the press that, as the U.S. and world powers negotiated with Iran, he thought Iran has been “given a freebie.” President Obama, while away at a conference in Latin America, almost immediately retorted, objecting to Netanyahu’s gripe. Ignatius says this exchange was “choreographed” to ensure Iranians are pressured to follow through with the deal.
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu played his expected role in this choreography,” he writes, describing it as “a perfect rebuff — just scornful enough to keep the Iranians (and the Americans, too) worried that the Israelis might launch a military attack this summer if no real progress is made in the talks.”
On one hand, the idea that all these public statements are a pre-planned pirouette seems far-fetched. But Anshel Pfeffer writing in Haaretz writes that Ignatius’s account ties “in with Barak Ravid’s report this morning in Haaretz quoting an American official saying that Netanyahu had been ‘fully briefed’ on Saturday’s P5+1 talks with Iran in Istanbul.”
According to Ignatius, the deal “seems likely to succeed if each side keeps to the script and doesn’t muff its lines.” The account may be all in Ignatius’s head – in order for it to be true, all parties would have to sincerely believe the aforementioned deal is in their interest – but for now the public waits for a conclusion to the current diplomatic talks.